Here a MOOC, There a MOOC, Everywhere a MOOC MOOC…


Well, it is that time in the semester where we all are feverishly trying to figure out what our major project for this class will be about; what we will choose to work on and study throughout this course.  This semester, I have decided to focus on MOOCs.  I was a bit confused on MOOCs last semester, and really did not “get it” until I attended an #etmooc in which Alec and Katia were part of last week.  BOOM!!!  I get it now 🙂


I want to explore the idea and nature of study within open education!  I find this to be a very validating and personal topic.  I am not the type of teacher whom keeps all learning plans to themselves, I like to share and receive feedback from colleagues whom are teaching the same, or a similar course of study.  I like when another educator says to me “Hey, I adapted the assignment you lent to me and did ***** with it, and it turned out great”.  FANTASTIC!  Now, I have continued my learning and have gathered ideas from that colleague to put into my knapsack of knowledge, so to speak.  I like to engage in conversation with educators about what they are doing in their classrooms and why their practices are effective.  If a practice/activity is not being effective, I like to learn from that situation and have conversations with other individuals in similar positions as myself in regards as to how to remedy the situation.  Learning from self and others! But more importantly, I want to begin studying how MOOCs can be utilized to increase engagement of 21 Century students within our classrooms.

Photo credit:

So, what is a MOOC?  Simply put, a MOOC is a massive open online course.  Anyone can take them!  You do not have to fit into an “age demographic” to take a course, although from the initial research I have been reading it seems as though MOOC students generally seem to be “older” (not students from our classrooms).  Did you know that MOOCs are free to participate in?  Well, quite a few of them are!   I really like the idea of connecting with other learners regardless of geographical locations (networking), time constraints (you work on a MOOC at your own pace within time periods for each module), accessible, participatory, independence, and open communication – connecting with others whom have similar interests as myself as life long learners.  Below, David Cormier (Rhizomatic Learning),  describes a MOOC in an easy to understand short video.

I have chosen to enroll in a MOOC this semester to really gain a first hand experience of what a MOOC looks like, feels like as a student, how it allows for connectivity and open education, and, because I am a science teacher, I wanted to explore my evolution as a learner through this type of learning medium.  The MOOC that I am currently enrolled in is offered by Stanford University and has a focus “Reading to Learn in Science”.  I just joined this MOOC last night, and the MOOC began two weeks ago (better late than never – another advantage of a MOOC) therefore I am a wee bit behind, but will catch up by the end of the week.

I am wondering if anyone has had experience with a MOOC before, and what what the outcome?




Not an Adventure, Rather a Personal Journey

I wholeheartedly agree with Amy in regards to the growth that I have personally done since September and my first blog of EC&I 832!  In 832, I began the course somewhat overwhelmed – which quickly turned to confusion – and finally an eureka moment where everything all fell into place, it was quite the adventure!  In 831 I feel that I am picking up right where I left off, although this time, I have a greater sense of confidence,  a hunger for the knowledge, and a sense of which path I am travelling on.

pathPhoto Credit: umrio12 via Compfight cc

For those of us whom are “older”, we experience a shift in the way we teach from the way we were taught.  Gone are the days (or they should be) of the teacher standing at the front of the room instructing from a podium and all students in a robot motion taking down notes and participating at the same level, regardless of needs and abilities. Figure 1

Photo credit:

Michael Welsh, in his Ted Talk “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able” points out that  media mediates relationships and how we, as society, have change from having a uni-dimensional relationship with media to multidimensional. We do not participate in one-way conversations any longer, this course is a prime example, we Zoom and contribute via open discussion with one another on the topics we are guided to explore.

Welsh introduced three concepts of knowledgeably in practice in today’s learning environments:

  1. We must allow our students to embrace real world problems
  2. Our students need to be allowed to connect, organize, share, collaborate and publish their findings
  3. Finally, we must enable our students to move beyond the initial problem, to continue to learn.

Taking advantage of the multidimensional media relationships, Brown and Adler remind us that we can virtually connect anywhere on earth, this therefore leads to learning in a competitive ecosystem, one in which society must supply and provide skills for continuous learning in order to maintain a logistic growth rather than density dependent.  Exploring learning through the social view, such as MOOC’s and Open Education Resources,  allow full participation and collaboration among students in courses.  Social Learning allows for an unleash of inquiry through conversations regardless of geographical location; a fit into an online niche allowing for an unobstructed growth within our personal ecosystem (difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0).

Pavan Arora’s Ted Talk resonated to me, I really like the idea of teaching application of knowledge to our students.  This is critical as knowledge has an expiry date – it’s continually evolving, developing and growing.  Teaching our students how to access information, assess the information, and apply the knowledge gained from the information through the use of social learning is crucial for developing self sustaining learners within social learning networks, and helping our students decided what their individual learning paths will look like.